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The HTC Elation is most likely faked

Our inbox has been inundated for the last five hours or so with ‘tips’ on the alleged HTC Elation. The device was reported on Ubuntu Life early this morning and the image and details reportedly came from HTC’s own site—in essence, a URL popped up that revealed the device in all its glory.

In just under 72 hours, HTC will be showing off numerous new devices featuring Windows Phone 8, so seeing things “leak” early is to be expected, not to mention the ‘Elation’ somewhat matches the specs of the alleged ‘Zenith’ WP8 device that HTC has reportedly been working on.

Good to go, right? Not so fast…

There are some red flags that have caused us to consider this not real...

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To the left, Twitter and to the right, reportedly Facebook notifications

Looks like Nokia’s New York City announcement is the gift that keeps on giving. Such is the case from the newly observed Twitter and Facebook notifications on the Lock screen during the introduction of the wireless charging part of the presentation. (Although Twitter is clear as day for us, we're still  not sure about the Facebook one--it's quite hard to tell.)

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Update (1pm ET): The Windows Phone Store link is now active

For those of you who commute or find yourself traveling a lot, you’ll soon be able to make your life a lot more interesting as 121Cast's SoundGecko app has finally landed for Windows Phone. We wrote on SoundGecko earlier in anticipation of the app and that day is just about upon us.

The app has passed Windows Phone certification and is just waiting to be “pushed” to the Store. Windows Phone Central managed to get our hands on it slightly early and we’re more than glad to give you the tour in the video above.

The service, found at www.soundgecko.com, is free for the basic level and it allows you to convert 30 articles a month into audio format. The service works by finding a web link of a story you want to listen to later and sending it to SoundGecko (you can even use the nifty Chrome plugin to automate the process).

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Manager of the Windows Phone Program, Joe Belfiore in NYC

Tonight we can confirm via two known sources that Windows Phone 8 has RTM’d. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, RTM stands for Release to Manufacturing (aka “going gold") and is one of the final steps in getting the software to market.

We're also told that this RTM date was planned and that Windows Phone 8 is "on time".

Windows Phone 8 codenamed ‘Apollo’ has been in development since 2011. The previous major branch of Windows Phone codenamed ‘Mango’ RTM’d in July 26th, just over one year ago. Bringing along a new core architecture built upon the NT kernel, the Windows Phone 8 OS will allow Microsoft to adopt cutting edge technology and heavily compete with Android and iOS in terms of features and hardware flexibility.

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Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Go To Games

This week's Roundup deals with Go To Games for your Windows Phone. For the lack of a better term, Go To games are the ones that always find their way on to your Windows Phone and really never grow old. These games are amongst your favorites but always seem to rise to the top of that list. They are the games you go to for entertainment that are great time wasters that never disappoint.

The Windows Phone Central staff were polled on which two gaming titles are their Go To Games. We see a lot of games come and go on our Windows Phones but these titles seem to always be around. The Roundup contains a wide range of games that include a beauty salon, chickens and rainbows as well as a healthy selection of Xbox Live titles.

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“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing." -Hitchens

Being a full-time writer and frequent traveler often means one enjoys spirits—it helps free the mind for writing or eases a hard day from running around airports.  And in this case, yours truly is a fan of Whiskey—scotch, bourbon, it doesn’t matter so long as you’re not putting Coke in it.  Pansies.

Last night I purchased a nice bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. For those connoisseurs in audience, air high-five. I tossed a lovely pic on Twitter and thus started an awesome stream of recommendations from the Twittosphere.  Only one problem: true Scotch often has the original distillers name, which to my eyes (and ears) look like “Hey, you should really try Ddfjpshee Allt-Aphaig” or something.

Foreign tongues can be tough, so when someone really says that I should try anConc or Adelphi Fascadale (real names),  I need a way to remember and categorize that. Enter in the app Whisky Bar.

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What do you think of the new Xbox rebranding for Windows Phone?

We’ve known for a couple of weeks now that Microsoft was evidently rebranding their Xbox games for the Windows Phone OS by dropping “LIVE” and adding a green banner to the top of the cover art. Today we reported that Microsoft was even doing this for older games too.

Interestingly, Microsoft has not announced this publicly yet, making the strategy not very clear. We’ll just assume it is part of the plan to excise “LIVE” from just about everything (and we’re real curious about the Xbox 360).

So simple question: Do you like the new look?

The green banner pops more but you also lose some cover-art space and we’re still not sure what to call it…Xbox on Windows Phone? Xbox for Windows Phone?

Sound off in comments. Voting closes in 3-days and you can vote on your phone by going to m.wpcentral.com.

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Today's winner is...

Today, Apple finally took the wraps off of the long-awaited iPhone 5 (you can get all the dirty details at our sister site iMore). Funny thing happened along the way though to the announcement: many leaks came forward early on that turned out to be highly accurate, taking the punch out of a lot of the new features. What’s more, even the media started to get a bit bored with Apple’s plans for the next-gen device.

The question for our readers though is in terms of raw technology—who came out on top? We say that because we know Apple will win the PR and hype war, but for the first time a Windows Phone has gone toe-to-toe and in terms of specs, has beat out the next-generation iPhone.

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Last week, Microsoft suddenly announced that we’d be getting Crimson Dragon Side Story on Windows Phone. We were pumped to see a Crimson Dragon/Panzer Dragoon game coming to the platform (see this article to learn more), but would it live up to the series’ high quality bar? Fast forward to now: the game is here, it’s really good, and it only costs a dollar!

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Backing up Windows Phones on Macs is a breeze

We've already established that backing up your Windows Phone can prevent any unnecessary headache due to the loss of personal data. There's no guarantee you'll always remember to take the Windows Phone out the pockets before bundling clothes into the washing machine. We recently took a look at how to back up Windows Phone using a third-party Windows tool since Microsoft doesn't offer said functionality in Zune.

In that article we incorrectly believed that the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac doesn't feature any backup facility. Turns out, it certainly does (officially too) and shares the exact same functionality as the tool we used in our previous how to, except we're now on a Mac. It's odd that Microsoft would provide Apple Mac users the means to successfully carry out backing up their Windows Phones without using third-party software, yet Windows consumers are left in the dark for now. 

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Nokia have just a announced through their Conversations website that existing Lumia phones will get some sweet new feature updates. The new features announced will include addition Bluetooth capabilities, a ringtone maker and of course the new Windows Phone 8 start screen aka the 7.8 OS refresh.

Nokia are not forgetting about their existing customers, they made this clear at the launch of Windows Phone 8 and now we’re seeing them keep to their word.

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Viber with voice support coming to Nokia Lumia phones

This morning, Viber, the company behind the popular and free VOIP communication software announced the soon-to-be available Viber app for Windows Phone, adding to Viber Messenger. The new version of the app, developed with assistance from Nokia themselves, now supports HD voice calls, bringing the app up to full Viber standards.

Viber has had a long route to get to Windows Phone, especially since their service required deeper integration with the OS, which was not available for early iterations of the software. Now, in conjunction with Nokia, the new Viber app has full voice-over-IP protocol support, allowing users to make and receive free calls over their data connection. In addition, users can of course continue to use the free messenger aspect of the app.

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On Friday, we asked our readers what Windows Phone 8 device they were leaning towards for their next purchase. And although HTC has yet to unveil their new phones, it appears that Nokia has by far demonstrated their dominance amongst our readership.

The poll was simple: Choose one of four new Windows Phone 8 devices, including the Nokia Lumia 820, Lumia 920, Samsung ATIV S or the HTC Accord (a device all but officially confirmed at this point for release).

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Say hello to dark and mysterious Outlook

Update: We have confirmation that this feature is indeed in the final release. More over, it's an optional setting within the app.

Outlook for Windows Phone has been given a second look for those who enjoy using the dark theme. AnandTech took the recently announced Lumia 920 for a spin and in their hands-on video footage, one can clearly see Outlook sporting a different look – it’s certainly easy to overlook if you’re not the most observant soul.

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If only backing up was this easy

Continuing on with our series of Windows Phone how tos for those who are new to the platform, today we'll be looking at how to backup and restore our smartphones. Backing up is a chore than many have to undertake on their PC, whether it be apps, documents or photos from a memorable vacation - it's always best to have more than one copy of everything. The same goes for contents on your smartphone.

Should anything happen to your Windows Phone, or if you’d like to revert to an earlier snapshot, you’ll need a backup at hand to get everything working in perfect order. Unfortunately Microsoft doesn’t currently offer an official facility to manually backup a Windows Phone (not even in Zune), but luckily there are alternatives thanks to an active developing community.

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Custom Hubs & Accent colors for Windows Phone 8? Yes, please.

Earlier in the day we reported that Microsoft was going through the User Voice feedback system and signing off on feature requests from end users.

In short, if a feature is being positioned to be included in Windows Phone 8.x, it gets stamped with a generic “Planned” label from the site Admin for Windows Phone. It is then followed by a comment noting “Just a quick update to let the Windows Phone community know that this feature has been announced for Windows Phone 8”.

Indeed, many of the features such as Arabic language support, NFC and 720P displays have been publicly confirmed back at the June 20th Summit, making this forum cleanup standard practice.

But out of the 22 “Planned” suggestions, three stuck out...

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Getting a tiny bump

WhatsApp is one of those services that people love to hate on Windows Phone. It seems people use it because everyone else does, thereby making them accomplice to any ongoing issues the app may be having.

Such is the case with the last few updates from the WhatsApp team. Going by the frequent user feedback from you folks, it is evidently slow and crashes (we use Kik so our recent experience is more limited with WhatsApp).

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Lots of app updates including our fave, Memento Pro

Over the last few weeks the Windows Phone Marketplace has had some minor issues, including pushing out updates for apps in timely manner. In fact, we’ve heard from a few developers that their updates have been delayed due to a backlog in the approval process.

So it’s perhaps of little wonder then that this morning we awoke to see a mini-flood of app update notifications on our phone and from what you, our audience, have reported to us.

Since there are so many, we figured we would wrap up the ones we know of (or at least for apps we use and approve at Windows Phone Central).

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Pinnable CC's and new notifications

Many of the new features of Windows Phone 8 are already known due to the leaked SDK over the summer but exactly how some of it will look is still a bit unclear.

Take for example the NFC Wallet app. It’s a safe assumption that it will allow many different options—storage of coupons, deal cards, frequent flier pass and of course your credit cards. It’s also not too wild of a guess that Microsoft will allow you to pin those to your Start screen for quick and easy access.

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